While the internet has made activities like shopping easier for many, it’s also made it easier for scammers to try and pull people into their intricately woven web of lies. According to the Better Business Bureau Scam Tracker, almost 48,500 scams were reported in the U.S. alone, and that number is rising every year.
Now that you can find almost anything online, it’s even more important that you’re familiar with the different ways someone could commit a cybercrime. Even if you’re searching in a specific niche, such as schoolies for sale, it never hurts to pay attention to the website you’re on. As the saying goes, it’s better to be safe than to be sorry. That said, here’s how you can tell a bus website is legit.
Check if the website is secure
Looking at the address bar should tell you all you need to know. The URL should begin with “https://”, or there should be a lock symbol next to the URL. While this in itself doesn’t guarantee that you’re not viewing a scam website, it does show that whoever owns the website is using secure encryption processes to transfer data, including yours.
You can also check and see if the website has a trust seal, which indicates that the website is safe and whoever owns the website makes security a priority. Clicking on that seal should take you to a separate webpage that will tell you the seal is authentic.
Look for a contact page
Legitimate business websites usually have a physical address associated with them, whether it’s an actual store or the home address of the business owner. Besides an address, you’ll want to check that there’s a phone number and email address listed. Make sure the email isn’t a generic account with just any email provider; instead, it should include the company or brand name somehow.
If you’re on an e-commerce website, make sure to read other policies, such as those governing the purchase of, say, a used school bus or step van. After all, it’s in the website’s best interest to protect customers, so if there’s no policy, or what you find looks like it was hastily put together, think twice before buying anything.
Look for spelling and grammatical errors
Legitimate companies take extra steps to make sure that any form of communication with their customers upholds minimum quality standards, even with automated correspondence. This means proper spelling, grammar, and punctuation; a minor typo here and there is fine. Also, any emails or messages from a legit business will have the appropriate tone; they won’t sound threatening or strangely urgent, even if you don’t follow the call to action.
If the website copy has too many glaring errors in spelling or grammar, or there’s a misplaced sense of urgency, you’ll do well to exit that website and look for a used school bus somewhere else.
These tips may sound like they’ll take some time, but in reality, they won’t. Just an extra five minutes or so, and you’ll be able to tell if the website you’re on is legit or not. That’s worth it when you consider the reduced chances of getting scammed out of a potentially hefty sum.